Champagne Ayala is one of the longest-established champagne Houses; it has been based in Aÿ, at the heart of the great champagne vineyards, since it was founded over 150 years ago. Independent and family-owned, it is still today the archetype of a great and historic House, producing top quality wines which are enjoyed throughout the world for their freshness and elegance. It is this influence that has led to Ayala’s drier House style and it remains known today throughout the world for its fresh and elegant wines.
The 1920s were a remarkable golden age during which Champagne Ayala produced over a million bottles each year, ranking the House amongst the top brands in and became the official supplier to the royal courts of England and Spain. Champagne Ayala has always been a small, independent and family-run business. After the Second World War the House went through a rather quiet period as its leaders occupied important positions in Champagne trade associations. In 2005 the Bollinger family bought this fine estate, with the intention of restoring it to its former glory. This was the start of a resurgence for Champagne Ayala, with complete restoration of winemaking facilities and the arrival of new staff. The House employs today about 15 people, keeping the family spirit of its origins.
Every stage of winemaking is carried out on location, from vinification to shipping, not to mention ageing, riddling, disgorgement, labelling and conditioning. The two kilometres of caves are home to almost 2.5 million bottles, slowly maturing in the centuries-old cellars dug out of Aÿ’s chalky hillsides.
Born in Reims in 1975, Caroline Latrive received her National Oenology Diploma in 1999, followed by a master’s degree in oenology in wines from Champagne in 2005. She joined Champagne Ayala in 2006, watchfully learning about the House’s expertise in winemaking, before being appointed as Cellar Master in 2011. Today, she carefully ensures that the House style is maintained by focusing on quality rather than quantity.
Ayala’s Blanc de Blancs is produced in small quantities in exceptional years only and fully expresses the superb calibre of great Chardonnay from the best crus of the Côte des Blancs. The 2007 spent six years ageing in Champagne Ayala’s cellars and received a very low dosage.
The 20007 is bright and luminous, with a very fine bead. The nose has great subtlety, with notes of flowers, citrus fruit and white peaches, completed by a delicate aroma of honey. The palate reveals a remarkable minerality, which is accompanied by the floral notes found on the nose. The mouth-feel is balanced, with a chalky, mineral feel. It is a perfect match for white fish and shellfish (bass, bream, scallops) or roasted poultry.